the gift

i repeatedly turn it down
this small radiant gift
i am freely offered

a small hinged box or silken bag
that will open on infinity

for after all
how do i even know that
and why am i worthy?

and are there strings attached?

i would then feel obliged
to somehow repay
but that feels ok at least

i would feel more in control
and – oh – the instant has passed

it was just here and then

i doubted my little me again
it dimmed and receded into time

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

come be with us

let this single voice be lost
among the broken places of me
that have worn me to my knees
may by grace i simply be

here please listen
to the stillness with me
this utter peace is born
here where thought is lain
gently for an instant to rest

come be with me where love’s flame
incinerates our masks and opens our hearts

this gate once open can never be shut
this timeless promise will never be broken
only declared again and again
by those willing to fall within

come be with us beyond your fear
come be seen as you truly are
we will join to celebrate your life and
the sacred within you will rush to greet us

come embrace your limitless possibilities
and release your tortured labored breath
yes you will die but only seemingly
and you will know once the walls

have crumbled sufficiently
that your heart can open
on a shimmering doorway to infinity

come be with us in this sacred place

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20191007

my purpose

i’m just here to ask
dearly beloved ones whose attention
now connects with the moment
i am briefly divine have you felt this movement
of which i speak the erratic sway
that is like an emphatic interruption
of the the humdrum swell monotony
upon wave of mediocrity we can be
so much better than this just please
too much thinking to such a degree i mean
honestly this is reaching a transformational proportion that can be tipped more easily than might be suspected if we embrace where we agree please relax but leave your beautiful hand in mine you are full of light and utterly divine on this sweet silky midwestern night
yes yes it’s indescribable we agree

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

my violent uncle

six years old i was running and stumbling
across the harvested cornfield to the barn
had fallen onto a perfectly sharpened dagger
a stalk that punctured my knee to the bone

my violent uncle – everyone called him
the colonel – is mad and red faced now
blood is streaming running into my shoe
i will have to be driven to town goddamit
and sewn back together again

i bleed into the rattling stubble
wishing my mom was still here
she’d blown her head off with a shotgun
a few months ago and now and now

he is bellowing get in the goddammed car
and i half crawl in hunker in the back
and disappear again into my world where
my blood has fertilized the field
and mom is being recreated in the dust

wrapped in corn leaves she is incubated
the dull earth flickers past car windows
i am trapped in a home i do not live in
until i remember she will be there tomorrow
covered with dew and given a fresh mind

his venomous epithets bounce around the glass
and they never touch me once, goddammit

the ground is cracking splitting open
the light of protection is gloriously rising

she will comfort me again at last
when i return sewn back together again

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

Newz Feedz

Whether I lean left or right,
trolls will find my tendency.
They lurk beneath my feed

skin festering, shunning all light,
drooling to fill my predisposition
with sordid stinking supposition

encouraging me to further lean
and take the bait … um, wait!
that doesn’t sound right …

but in the moment I hesitate,
and it seems that I might cogitate
I receive the needed validation:

just in this breaking newz
further confirms the views
I knew were right all along.

Now the evidence is strong,
and just you wait and see;
my friends and I agree

this situation is a tragedy,
a debacle of epic proportion.
Thank you for the timely information.

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art


deep in the deepest recesses
of the heart of the heart
there is nothing

perhaps a gap

in time is noticed

but afterwards ah then
flow synchronies and art and

fluid melodies as if
the brown thrasher
flitting among the gnarly limbs
of a dust bowl era osage orange
had been there all along
belting out his outrageous repetoire
of courting song

a confident call for love
reverberates from his tiny presence
far into the wide tumbling
ever changing sky

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art
20190621 Summer Solstice


– in remembrance of Ron Cox

god is relentlessly swooping in
she is rushing toward me
from every direction

i can taste her essence now
shaking these bright new limbs
leaning into me when i lie against her

i feel her glimmer along living water
and i breathe the perfume of decay
and flowering forest floor and more

is brought forth where sunlight lingers
the heated vibrancy can be felt
pine sap drips & wafts through wiggling air

these creaking expansive woods
have risen high through the earth
behold them crafted from our own elements

she knows of nothing to regret or forgive
simply shimmers offering a life to live
breathe with her easily please and receive

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20190508


on the other side
of darkness
it is difficult
to clearly recall
what first led me there
and why i spent so much time
deep in its warm deadening depths

and i know its onyx threads
are still woven through me

yet i no longer believe
in the story whatever it was
that i felt obliged to trundle
across an unforgiving prairie
on behalf of our struggling ancestors

some pages of history are still in my files
contained rather loosely arranged
in the tumbling wide midwestern sky
and don’t get me wrong
there will be trouble again
right here in river city
some dramatic struggles for personality

but here in the stillness the view
from outer space to inner
leads to a single delicious sip
of fiery golden twilight air where
every want is no longer needed
the membrane so thin i step in

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text & art


there is a stillness within
from which every vibration
in the universe burst forth

i clenched my teeth
and tensed my back
as though it all was all
a burden to resist

until i didn’t
his chattering mind
is rattling on
about its story
trying to remember
all the pieces
and what they mean
and in the spaciousness
of innate perfection
he is smiled upon
with absolute compassion
as can never be understood
by the rational mind
my heart beats and i am breathed
by the One Life of all the universe
i am a stream of atoms
flowing in timeless ness
i am in the gaps i don’t normally see
strictly metaphorically
as we like to say with our words
i must tirelessly cop to it over and over
ceaselessly repeating
so i won’t get it wrong again
ad nauseam
until i no longer need that lie,
my customized version of the past
until one day i surrender and i don’t

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art